At least 15 people including three lawmen were killed and over 50 injured when Hefajat-e Islam activists clashed with security forces at Kanchpur in Narayanganj on Monday.
The lawmen — nayek subedar Shah Alam, 55, of Border Guard Bangladesh, constable Zakaria, 44, and nayek Firoz Khan, 53, — were beaten to death, Dhaka Medical College Hospital sources said.
Eleven of the 12 other deceased were named Nizamul Haq Nizam, 28, SSC examinee Marzanul Islam Sourav, Hanna, Masum, Abu Bakar Siddiqui Palash, Sadeq Mia, Shawkat Osman Badhan, Md Rubel, Habibullah and Abdul Gafur, Nazir Hossain.
Police confirmed the death of eight including the three lawmen, while locals and the families confirmed the death of the others.
Most of the civilians were shot dead during the clashes.
The marauding Hefajat men vandalised and torched at least 10 vehicles including one of Rapid Action Battalion and also set fire to a police outpost on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
Following the clashes, transport movement on the highway remained suspended for eight hours until law enforcers took the situation under control around 1:00pm.
Police had to fire several hundreds of gunshots, rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse the unruly activists.
Azimul Hossain, senior assistant superintendent of police, said they received information that Hefajat men, after driven off the Shapla Chattar of Motijheel, were vandalising and torching vehicles on Dhaka-Chittagong highway stretching from Signboard to Khanchpur.
Hearing the news, a joint team of police, BGB and Rab men rushed to the highway around 5:00am and tried to disperse the unruly activists, Azimul said.
At one stage, a gang hurled several cocktails targeting the law enforcers forcing them to open fire that triggered the clashes, he said.
“Those who hurled cocktails on police did not look like Hefajat men. They might be the activists of Jamaat and Shibir,” he said.
Locals, however, said students from different madrasas of Comilla and Chittagong took shelter at Madaninagar Madrasa at Sanarpar after law enforcers drove them out off the Shapla Chattar during the early hours on Monday.
When they started for their own madrasas after Fazr prayer, the joint team fired teargas shells on them.
Hundreds of people rushed to the spot and attacked the law enforcers when the madrasa authorities made an announcement about the police action through a loudspeaker, the locals said.
The clash soon spread to at least 10 spots at Sanarpara.
The injured, which included at least 10 lawmen, were rushed to Narayanganj General Hospital.
The two cops and BGB man were declared dead when they were taken to DMCH, hospital sources said.